Fennel is a food plant that can be applied as both herb and spice. It has special aroma and flavor and contains medicinal properties as well. It is a significant ingredient of absinthe. It is botanically called as Florence fennel or finocchio which is a swollen blub shaped stem used as a vegetable. It serves as a food plant for larvae of Lepidoptera species like mouse moth, Anise swallowtail, etc.
Almost all parts of the fennel plant are edible in nature. It is originated from Mediterranean regions and became popular since ancient times in countries like Greek. The popularity of fennel spread to Europe through Rome. Now, it is also cultivated in India, Australia, South America, etc. It has become a significant natural resource in US.
Puritans called this as Meeting Seed and it was chewed by them when they were involved in long church services. It is a adaptable vegetable that plays a prime role in European food culture in places like Italy and France and its European reputation can be traced back to times of mythological traditions.
- It acts a mild stimulant.
- It is a weak diuretic and carminative.
- Fennel oil is used in purgative medication in order to prevent intestinal colic.
- It helps in stimulating lactation.
- It helped to controlled hunger and cure obesity during Renaissance period in Europe.
- It is used to wash during eyestrain or irritation persists.
- It contains anethole and terpenoid as major constituents which reduce spasms in smooth muscles like intestinal tract.
- It helps in relieving gastrointestinal tract cramp.
- It contains diuretic that helps to increase urine production.
- The choleretic property helps in the production of bile and reduces pain, fever and antimicrobial actions.
- The fennel seeds are used for flavoring many herbal medications.
- The fennel seeds and roots stay supportive for opening obtrusions of the liver, gall bladder, spleen, etc.
- Moisture: 6.30 %
- Protein: 9.5 %
- Fat: 10 %
- Crude fiber: 18.5 %
- Carbohydrates: 42.3 %
- Total ash: 13.4 %
- Calcium: 1.3 %
- Phosphorus: 0.48 %
- Iron: 0.01 %
- Sodium: 0.09 %
- Potassium: 1.7 %
- Vitamin B1:9.41 mg/100 g.
- Vitamin B2:0.36 mg/100 g.
- Niacin: 6.0 mg/100 g.
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid):12.0 mg/100 g.
- Vitamin A: 1040 I.U. /100 g.
- Calorific value: 370 calories/100 g.
The above composition may not be applicable to all types of samples. It may vary considerably depending on various factors. Fennel seeds also contain 9.0 to 13 % fixed oil. The components of fatty acids of the oil are:
- Palmitic: 4 %
- Oleic: 22 %
- Linoleic: 14 %
- Petroselinic: 60 %.
The oil has Saponification value of 181.2, Iodine value of 99 and Unsaponifiable matter of 3.68 %. The plant is pleasantly aromatic and is used as a potherb. The leaves are used in fish sauce and for garnishing; leaf stalks are used in salad.
Dried fruits of fennel have a fragrant odor and a pleasant aromatic taste. Fennel are used for flavoring soups, meat dishes, sauces, liquors, pickles, and bakery products.